From the archives III


For the past couple of years, a good deal of my Japanese practice has consisted of reading those free newspapers that are published by the Japanese expat community in London, namely News Digest, the thrillingly titled Japan Update Weekly (formerly known as Bay Spo) and Weekly Journey.

Weekly Journey is my favourite of the three, and its most interesting feature is a page of bizarre stories  trawled from the week’s news, stories that usually involve bungled crimes or deviant behaviour of one kind or another.

Once Mrs M and I have moved to Japan, I’ll be rather disappointed not to be able to pick up Weekly Journey any more (sadly, the bizarro stories do not feature on its website), as reading a real-life Japanese newspaper is much more like hard work. So before that happens, may I be so bold as to present you with one or two gems found in translation, as it were:

‘Looking at them was exciting’ – 78 saddles are seized from a man suspected of theft, who has been re-arrested in Tochigi Prefecture.

37-year-old company employee Yuichi Fukuda was arrested on the 22nd and taken to Sakura Police Station in Takanezawa Town, Tochigi Prefecture, on suspicion of stealing a young girl’s bicycle saddle. He is already being prosecuted for a previous offence of damage to property.

‘Looking at the saddle made me excited,’ the suspect confirmed. A large number of saddles and student’s bicycle helmets were found at Mr Fukuda’s residence, and Sakura Police are investigating further offences.

According to Sakura Police, between the afternoon of the 6th March and the morning of the 7th March, Mr Fukuda is suspected of stealing a bicycle saddle (worth around 100 yen) from the residence in Takanezawa Town of a nine-year-old girl who is in the fourth grade of elementary school.

Mr Fukuda was previously arrested by Sakura Police on 29th May on suspicion of damage to property, when he was caught in the act of covering the bicycle helmet of a junior high school girl with a urine-like liquid. When officers searched Mr Fukuda’s home, they discovered 78 bicycle saddles, 10 bicycle helmets and various items of PE kit.

According to investigations, Mr Fukuda has been targeting bicycles with junior high school markings, and has testified to stealing saddles and helmets. ‘Women of my own age don’t take any notice of me,’ he is quoted as saying.

And in case you fancy reading the Japanese instead:

「見て楽しんだ」サドル78個押収 窃盗容疑で男を再逮捕 栃木

A picture of Mr Fukuda’s horde of stolen goods can be seen here.

From the archives IV

Baldie Song in School Broadcast – Teacher With Thinning Hair Enraged

In an elementary school in Maehashi City, a song that ridicules people with thinning hair was broadcast via an elementary school’s PA system.

It is understood that a teacher in his 40s with thinning hair was angered by the song, and made 28 pupils prostrate themselves on the classroom floor. The song, which is called ‘Fugue for Baldies in a Minor Key’, came from an internet video site and is by a duo called Brief & Trunks.

On December 30th at 1pm, around one to two minutes of the song were broadcast. Whilst he was with the headmaster, the teacher in charge of the broadcast club heard the song and rushed to the studio. He then stopped the broadcast and told off six members of the broadcast club, making them prostrate themselves on the floor for around a minute. Four days later, twenty-seven more children who were listening to the song were asked to prostrate themselves.

A problem came to light after some of the children’s parents contacted the school. It was pointed out that ‘because the teacher has thinning hair, he flew into a rage’, although the teacher in question has stressed that, ‘I did not become angry because of my personal feelings’.



From the archives VI


Woman in silver seat has shorts cut with scissors

A man has been arrested for property damage by police in Higashi Matsuyama, Saitama Prefecture, after a woman who was asleep on a train had her shorts cut with a pair of scissors. The suspect, 57-year-old Kohji Takahashi of no fixed address, claims to be employed as an architect.

At around 6.45am on the 19th, on board a semi-express train travelling from Sakado to Sakama on the Tobu-Tojo line, Takahashi was sitting to the left of a twenty-year-old vocational college student, who was asleep in a ‘silver seat’. The suspect is alleged to have cut the left thigh of the woman’s shorts in three places, the cuts measuring approximately ten centimetres in length.

‘The woman was occupying a sliver seat, and I became angry because I thought an OAP would not be able to sit there,’ Takahashi said.

The woman did not realise that her shorts were being cut, but having woken up when Takahashi stood up to leave, she got off at Takasaka station and reported the incident to a member of staff, who made an emergency call.


電車内で寝ていた女性の半ズボンをはさみで切ったとして埼玉県警東松山署は、器物損壊の疑いで住所不定の自称建築作業員、高橋耕二 容疑者(五七)を逮捕した。
逮捕容疑は十九日午前六時四十分ごろ、東武東上線池袋発小川町行き準急電車が、北坂戸—坂間を走行中、シルバーシートで寝ていた女性専門学校生(二〇)の左隣に座り、持っていたはさみで、女性の半ズボンの左太もも部分三 カ所を約十センチずつ切った疑い。
半 ズボンを切られている最中は気付かなかった女性だが、高橋容疑者が立ち上がったことで目が覚め、自らも高坂駅で下車。事情を聴いた駅員が一一〇番通報し た。